NAZARETH, Pa. (March 20, 2000) -Team KOOL Green announced today that driver Dario Franchitti will compete in the opening round of the 2000 CART FedEx Championship at Miami-Homestead Speedway March 24-26. Franchitti, who suffered a fractured pelvis...
NAZARETH, Pa. (March 20, 2000) -Team KOOL Green announced today that driver Dario Franchitti will compete in the opening round of the 2000 CART FedEx Championship at Miami-Homestead Speedway March 24-26. Franchitti, who suffered a fractured pelvis and brain contusions in a testing crash at Homestead on February 9, successfully completed two days of testing at Nazareth Speedway on Sunday and Monday with no lingering effects from his injuries.
Franchitti completed a total of 138 laps of the one-mile oval in the KOOL Honda-Reynard, including 53 today, turning a fast lap of 20.2s in the process. His best time compares favorably to the lap of 19.52s turned by Team KOOL Green teammate Paul Tracy today.
"I was a little rusty at first," said Franchitti, "but everything came back pretty quickly. We just took our time, didn't put any pressure on ourselves to set lap records and everything came together in its own time. Paul's done a fantastic job shouldering the testing work for the last few weeks and he gave me a car that was well balanced from the start.
"I feel fine. I was a bit mentally tired last night but there's no sign of vertigo and believe me, it's really saying something if you can run around Nazareth at racing speeds without feeling dizzy! I'm just looking forward to getting on with it and racing at Homestead." Dr. Terry Trammell, chief orthopedic consultant to Championship Auto Racing Teams, attended both days of the Nazareth test and supports Franchitti's decision to race at Homestead.
"Dario is doing fine and healing rapidly," said Dr. Trammell. "He is a healthy, well-conditioned athlete and I have no doubt about his ability to drive without impairment from his injuries. We did make some minor changes to his seat to assist with driver comfort and better protect the fractured areas."
"Naturally we're thrilled that Dario will be racing at Homestead," said Barry Green, owner of Team KOOL Green. "It was pretty clear after his first few laps yesterday that he was ready to go, but we wanted to have a night to sleep on it and then do some long runs before we made a final decision. Now it's all systems go for Homestead and the 2000 season. I can't wait."
Immediately following the test, Team KOOL Green loaded its transporters and headed home to Indianapolis where they will complete their pre-race preparations.